We all know how wonderful the minds of little children are – we love them dearly and are constantly fascinated by them.
The instant they are born we can see that their little minds begin to tick away. Thinking has begun and the world is at their fingertips and with every passing day more and more is explored by them. They communicate with us in such incredible ways, crying when hungry or sad, and giggling and smiling when they are happy. And then as they grow they learn to express further their thoughts in deeper ways. They begin to talk and can engage with us and share. And so, with their first breath of air, the process of teaching them begins.
Children echo and mimic everything we do and that’s a large part of how they learn. Monkey-see, Monkey-do. And when you stop to think about it, that’s a HUGE responsibility and perhaps even a wake-up call. Our job is to teach them to use their words, to speak and how to be heard but there is something else we need to do and something I believe that often gets neglected. We need to teach our children to listen. To listen to others, to one another, to their teachers, us as their parents – of course, those are the obvious people they need to listen to but what about teaching them to listen to themselves.
Do we spend much time teaching them to listen to that small voice within? To really be ‘in touch’ with themselves and to learn to trust that instinct or what we also refer to as conscience? Do we show them how to take time to quiet our hearts and our minds so that we can create space to listen? By doing this, we really are giving them a gift that will travel with them throughout their life.
For some of you reading, you may be thinking that this is something you haven’t even mastered so how on God’s Green Earth are you going to teach your child to do this. Good question and if you haven’t mastered the art of listening, don’t worry…. you aren’t alone. Listening doesn’t come easy to everyone and the world we live in doesn’t really foster listening spaces. We are constantly entertained and are bombarded with information. We spend more time looking down at our device and absorbing other peoples images of the walk they took than realising the beauty of nature around us. It’s funny how technology has changed so much. Our ears are constantly filled with white noise and space fillers. In fact, it would seem that the sound of silence has become something that can deafen and is a foreign space for many.
I have a young friend who told me a story about her son who often speaks of his ‘God Gut’. He says that whenever he is faced with a situation or circumstance that requires a decision or discernment or wisdom, he becomes very aware of his ‘God Gut’ and he does his best to rely on that. How beautiful that this young man is not only aware of this but has become reliant upon it. His mother was telling me that he has determined that 9/10 his ‘God Gut’ is right and he needs to learn to listen more closely to it.
I love that story. I love that this young man has been encouraged by his parents to listen. To pause and to take heed of what is going on on the inside. I think we can all learn from his ‘God Gut’ and whether you refer to it as conscience, intuition, a small voice, or something else, to listen is to learn and from a place of knowledge we can implement, act and live from a place that is in touch and awake.
We live in a beautiful part of the world. Nature calls us into her lounge room – morning, noon and night. Why not accept the invitation and find yourself a seat on the sand, the grass or on one of our amazing bushwalks and allow ourselves space to listen and to practice the art of listening to the beauty that is around and in us. And let’s take our children on this journey so that they too can learn the gentle art of listening.
Stay tuned for next week’s article as we will dive a little deeper into some more practical ideas of how to listen, how to create space to do so and more.